How to vacuum a pool?

TXSlater

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2017
47
0
Austin, Texas
#1
We've had our in ground pool for just one season. We've kept it clean just using the kreepy krawler and brushing, but i wanted to use a skimmer/hose/vacuum head to manually vacuum some of the dirt and spot clean the shelf here and there. We had an old vacuum head from an old above ground pool that has a net integrated, and I figured I'd use that, but its connection isn't the standard 1.5 inch that the hose and skimmer use so I went online to buy a head to attach to our pole. Seems like all of the heads are just heads with nothing to catch the debris. This comes as a shock. It appears you vacuum and it goes right into the filter?! Is that so? Seems like overtaxing the filter for no good reason. Do they make vacuum heads with nets to catch stuff before going to the filter basket? Started reading on here and people were saying they vacuum to waste mode. That confuses me even more. We maintain the pool ourselves, so we have backwashed, but never used any of the other options on the filter. I feel ridiculous asking this, but how do you properly vacuum a pool?

Thanks!
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
#2
Vacuuming to waste is done if you have a multiport valve that can go to that setting. It's used to remove larger junk without over-taxing the filter and/or lower the water level. That's not the norm though. If you have a plunger valve, you can't backwash. Most owners vacuum either by:
a. Manually by connecting their vacuum hose to a suction port (if constructed) or directly into the skimmer hole. Connect the vacuum head to a pole with the hose and you're off & running. Yes, larger debris goes to the pump basket as it's designed, and the finer stuff gets to the filter where it is either backwashed (sand & DE) or rinsed (cartridge).
b. Another popular method is a robotic type cleaner that uses electric and maneuvers its way around for an hour or two, then you simply clean it out later. Those come with a cost, but are gaining lots of fans. It doesn't totally eliminate the main filter's purpose or cleaning, but helps.

Hope that helps.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
#3
I didn't mention earlier, but some owners have a separate pump system (pressure or suction) to power their cleaners like a Polaris, Barracuda, etc. But the same concept applies as the debris goes back to the main filter unless they actually had a separate filtration system installed just for that.
 

OrangeAndBlue

Silver Supporter
Aug 19, 2017
77
0
Houston, TX area
#4
In addition to what has been mentioned, you can also purchase a skimmer vacuum plate that sits right on top of your skimmer basket and the vacuum hose attaches to it. This way, anything you vacuum up goes into your skimmer basket and not directly into the pump. Combined with a skimmer sock (hair net), this should catch all the debris.
I have just ordered one this weekend and haven't tried it yet, but based on the reviews online this seems to work. The plates are around $10-$20 online. You'll need to look up your skimmer's model number to find the right one that fits your skimmer. It's probably stamped into the underside of the cover. I can report back once I've tried it.

Amazon.com: Hayward SP11063 Skim Vac In-Ground Pool Skimmer: Garden Outdoor
 

TXSlater

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2017
47
0
Austin, Texas
#5
Thanks!! I do have a filter with a Waste Mode (DE Pentair filter). Should I turn it to that when vacuuming? If I do, what happens? Will the water I'm vacuuming come out of the pipe that can drain the pool (the same pipe when I backwash)?
 

OrangeAndBlue

Silver Supporter
Aug 19, 2017
77
0
Houston, TX area
#6
If you switch to waste mode, yes everything you suck up through the vacuum will go out your backwash pipe and exit the pool system. In other words: You will drain your pool a little bit. You can do that if you don't mind replacing the water after every vacuum, but probably that is overkill unless you have some really bad debris to suck up. For just a small amount of dirt, it's probably not worth it to "waste" all that water and instead you can just vacuum through your normal filter system. This means debris will go into your filter or larger debris will get stuck in your pump basket. You can contain it to your skimmer basket which you can easily clean by getting one of those plates I linked to above.

I just tried mine for the first time yesterday by the way. It worked pretty well though you need to make sure the water level in the pool is really high or else the top of the plate will suck air.

Finally, if you're still not really comfortable for how to setup the manual vacuum. Go to youtube and do a search for 'pool manual vacuum' and you will find tons of helpful instructional videos.